Irish Republican News · August 10, 2004
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Irish athlete admits doping offence

Irish athlete Cathal Lombard has created a shock after he admitted that he used a banned substance while in training for the Athens Olympics.

He became the first athlete in Olympic history to admit that he had taken a banned substance to boost his performance.

The Cork-born distance runner was told on Saturday that a test earlier this year had revealed traces of the banned substance erythropoietin (EPO), a drug commonly abused in sports.

Lombard set an Irish 10,000 metres record in California after an extraordinary improvment in form, but provoked suspicions that he was doping.

The 28-year-old athlete confirmed that he had used EPO but insisted that his decision was not based on efforts to win medals or make money.

In an interview Mr Lombard said that he had taken the substance to be “as competitive as a I could and have an equal chance with everyone else”.

According to a statement from the Irish Sports Council, the Cork runner was repeatedly tested because he had shown dramatic improvements in performance in recent times.

The runner said he was “deeply sorry” for the doping offence. But he insisted the problem is now “an epidemic in modern sport”.

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© 2004 Irish Republican News